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Thread: Billing Feedback

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Billing Feedback

    We are doing well with billing integration and would like some feedback on new subscription offerings that we're considering. We have reduced the price of what we call a Basic monthly subscription and made a slight increase to what is called a Gifted subscription (as well as offering no automatic renewals on some subscriptions, different subscription features and a shiny new Ancient Subscription).

    We're looking for your feedback.

    Every business has to deal with the complicated decision of changing prices, both as operational costs increase and as a way to generate revenue for future projects. We are considering a change in subscription pricing so we're able to be more aggressive in creating updates for Horizons. We also wanted to create a new entry subscription that made it easier to bring in a friend or encourage a past player to try Horizons out again.

    Most businesses can talk to a few customers and then make a decision. We are in the "interesting" position in that we can reach out to every customer - past and present - who reads these boards. We're sure this post will generate a lengthy discussion. As you're reading, please keep in mind that we're trying to do the right thing for Horizons - which at times can be a careful balancing act between the needs of the business and the needs of Istarians. There are many of you who read the boards and don't comment. Now is a very important time to let us know your opinion. If you're a past player, let us know if the new basic subscription would encourage you to jump back in. If you're a current player, tell us what you think about the Gifted and Ancient subscriptions. If you're a jaded player, well - be constructive. We are listening and would like to ask everyone to keep your comments, ideas, and feedback on topic and friendly.

    Thank you,

    Horizons Development Staff
    You can also email to [email protected]


    ** All subscriptions can be stacked. Please see notes at bottom.

    BASIC SUBSCRIPTIONS
    1 Month Basic Subscription - $9.95
    Automatic renewal each month
    Comes with 3 character slots and 1 concurrent login

    GIFTED SUBSCRIPTIONS
    1 Month Gifted Subscription - $14.95 to $19.95?
    Automatic renewal each month
    Comes with standard plot, 10 consignment slots, 5 character slots, 1 concurrent login

    6 Month Gifted Subscription - $79.95
    No automatic renewal
    Comes with standard plot, 10 consignment slots, 5 character slots, 1 concurrent login

    12 Month Gifted Subscription - $159.95
    No automatic renewal
    Comes with standard plot, 10 consignment slots, 5 character slots, 1 concurrent login

    ANCIENT SUBSCRIPTIONS
    6 Month Ancient Subscription - $179.95?
    No automatic renewal
    Comes with standard plot?, ? consignment slots, ? character slots, ? concurrent login, special hatchling shoulder buddy?

    12 Month Ancient Subscription - $259.95?
    No automatic renewal
    Comes with standard plot?, ? consignment slots, ? character slots, ? concurrent login, special hatchling shoulder buddy?


    Examples of Stacking Subscriptions:
    Two Gifted - You can own two plots, 10 characters, 20 items on consignment and have two characters logged in at the same time.

    1 Basic and 1 Gifted - You can have one plot, 8 characters, 10 items on consignment and two characters logged in at the same time.

    30 Gifted - Well Sheriff, you can do pretty much what ever you want - after all, it's your town.

    ----

    If you're new to this thread, before you start to read everyone's replies and join in, we've compiled a few responses that touch upon a lot of the issues and concerns raised so far.

    First off - Thank you everyone for your feedback.

    We are considering an increase in subscription prices for one reason: staff. If the majority of players who used to pay 12.95 pay 14.95 (a $2 per month increase) then we can bring on more people to the team. More staff allows us to get updates out the door quicker, or add more to an update. If we leave the current pricing structure in place, updates will occur with the current team at their current pace (as of Aug 25, 2007 we have the next delta in progress and a new client being tested on Blight). We're considering this change in the interest of making Horizons a better game.

    Subscriptions: Think of subscriptions as a set of services for your account. Two subscriptions provide twice the services.

    Subscription Stacking: All subscriptions can stack. If you want 10 character slots or two plots, etc. add two Gifted subscriptions to your account. (We have modified the original post)

    Basic Subscriptions: This subscription was created to encourage people to bring in a friend just to try it out, or for someone who hasn't played for a while to take a peek before making a larger commitment. There have been some very good points made about the basic subscription - even for a new player - really needing consignment. Thoughts on 5 consignment slots per Imperial Consigner?

    Taxes: EU players (or anyone else in the world) do not have to add tax on top of listed prices.

    Blight: Blight characters do not count towards your total character count.

    Plot Types: A standard plot is any plot in the game, but we are thinking about adding some very large plots that would require a special subscription (like the Ancient subscription type). We're thinking these special plots would be equivalent to 2 large plots and possibly be located in special areas. We're open to suggestions.

    Ancient Subscriptions: We agree that 179.95 ($30 per month) is a lot of money per month for a subscription. We're looking for ideas and feedback on what we add that would make this worth while, especially in light of the ability to stack two Gifted Subscriptions. We do not want to add anything that encourages the concept of money buying character advancement.

    Military Program: We fully support the men and women of the United States military and will continue to show our support through this program. We are still determining the best way to maintain the spirit of the program and have it interface with the new billing system. Regardless of how we do it, all military personel will have a free account / concurrent login.

    Types of Players: You hit the nail on the head. Currently playing elder, currently playing newbie, not playing elder, not playing Unity - and then a potential new customer. The different subscriptions we set up need to meet the needs of all these people. And we don't want to have 20 subscription types - then it would be like picking a cell phone plan. Just for the record, there is no way we will ever have overage charges. You will never get this email: "You have placed 14 items on consignment. You are over your 10 item limit and there's a $5 fee per item. $20 has been charged."

    Consignment Slots: Everyone 'should' have 10 items, per subscription, per Imperial Consigner.

    A La Carte Features: This is a tough one. We want to provide flexibility, but at the same time we don't want to see a drop in revenue. If 25% of players have two subscriptions because they want to have two plots and we change the pricing so that an additional plot is half of a normal subscription, we just reduced the amount of money we bring in each month. That's bad for Horizons because it means we have less money to add people to the team. We love the flexibility of a la carte, but want to be careful. We are considering changes to subscriptions as a way to increase revenue so we can bump up the development staff. It would be a serious disservice to Horizons if our changes ended up dropping revenue.

    Item Purchases: We do not want to create an environment where money buys advancement. Items or special skills for sale are not part of the plan.

    Gifted Subscription: We hear you loud and clear about $14.95 being the max.

    Characters: We will not delete characters - ever. If you have 20 characters and only 5 character slots, the most we would do is make the final 15 not playable. We'd propose that selection of characters for activating / deactivating would be based on character age, but we'd put together our plan and check with the community for feedback.

    Vault Space: Great idea - we're investigating.

    Plots: Once we figure out billing, we'll move towards turning on the plot reclamation system. In the past, this proved to be a fair and reasonable system.

    French Wine: Excellent idea.

    We would really like to express that everyone's feedback is greatly appreciated. Nothing is set in stone at this time. We're getting exactly the feedback we need so a decision in the best interests of Horizons can be made. Thank you for your feedback - we're listening (and recovering a bit) but we want to say Thank You Very Much.


    Horizons Development Staff
    Last edited by Istaria CS; August 29th, 2007 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Notes on Responses to Billing Changes

  2. #2

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    I presume that for European Players we have to add on top of those prices the "Additional tax form the EU " ?

    Personally, I think that between Gifted and Ancient, the plot may be different.




    I appreciate that you wish to consult with the (ex)players before doing such an important change
    Keep up the progress and communication that has been happening lately, and who knows I can return to a beloved game

    Xante

  3. #3

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Not particularly in love with the number of character slots, especially for the basic subscription account...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Excuse me for being a bit slow but currently we can have a monthly subscription for $12.95. That includes 1 plot, and 5 character slots - correct? What I have should be 1 account with 4 subs at $12.95 each per month. I can have 20 characters and 4 plots. I guess I am not sure what you are meaning when you say 10 consignment slots, and 1 concurrent login. If I go with the gifted subscription then it would stay the same as I have now just a little more each month? I just want to make sure I am understanding this correctly before making any other feedback on it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Just keep it as it is, and jack up the prices a bit if needed - that's my view. 12 US ain't much.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Actually what I was wondering was with the gifted account it says between 14.95 to 19.95. What I want to know is what is the 19.95 and what is the 14.95?

    Right now I have 5 charactors live (I could thin a few yeah) and I think 4 charactors on blight (could bring it down to two) as well as a lair in Chiconis. I want to know what I would have to pay for that.

    Also..you say standard plot...what is a standard plot. Are you planning on adding non standard plots and if so what might they be?

    Otherwise I would have to say I'm a little weary of these changes. Those of use who have been playing for years might have to pay quite a bit more then we were used to paying. Though I do understand that prices raise of course.
    Nayuaka and Nayukhuut. Freelance Helian lorekeepers of Chaos.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    I have to agree.
    leave the sup as it is now. 12.95 each month.

    Then maybe, it could be possible to pay a bit more and then have a few more character slots?

    Abbie: 100 Sorcerer, 100 Wizard, 100 Conjurer, 100 Chaos Warrior
    Rougee: 100 Shaman, 100 Cleric, 100 Guardian
    Warrior of the Blight Shard

  8. #8

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Ok I'm sorry I'd just like a few things clarified before I comment.

    The basic sub for 9.99 wouldn't include the ability to own a plot?

    Also, are you going to continue the one account multiple sub ability? As in I can pick up 2 "Gifted subs" under my one account (login) and be allowed two plots / 10 char slots / 2 concurrent logins?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Ah thanks for clearing up one of my questions, Raisty....concurrent logins...the ability to have my entire family playing at the same time! Silly me!!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Actually after talking to my boyfriend we wouldn't mind the Ancient account if it came with at least double what the gifted account did. 2 plots, 2 logins, 10 char, etc. That way we could share an account an it would actually be cheaper then buying two gifted accounts. Even if it still only came with one shoulder buddy....we could share that too.
    Nayuaka and Nayukhuut. Freelance Helian lorekeepers of Chaos.

  11. #11

    Red face Re: Billing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Nayuaka View Post
    Even if it still only came with one shoulder buddy....we could share that too.
    And what is a shoulder buddy? Like I stated before, I am a bit slow. This was the only online game I have ever played, (although I did try out EVE) and am not sure about a lot of the lingo yet.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    I'd suggest that you should *not* go above 15 dollars a month for the standard sub (what you call a "gifted" sub). That seems to be one of the standard going prices for MMOGs right now. I understand that inflation happens, and every business has to raise their prices slowly over time (24.3% increase in rent so far this year for me. They bump it up every 3 months), and offering various tiered accounts might help alleviate the pain in that decision for customers who are unable to afford the increase.

    I like the idea of a basic sub, and a standard sub. But other than that I'm not sure if anything else is necessary. One thing though: Consignment is a basic part of the game. If you take that away, people cannot continue playing. So you have to offer some consignment options for people.

    If you decide to go with an elite account as well ("ancient":P), You'll have to increase everything. Number of plots (1 plot, 1 lair?), number of consignment spots and number of character slots. You can throw on a special item like a shoulder buddy just for an added bonus to tempt people into thinking about their account options, but I am sure that won't be the deciding factor in whether or not people decide to get a higher tier account.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    If the Ancient subscription includes at least twice the in-game benefit as the Gifted sub, that could be reasonable. If you get more by having multiple monthly subscriptions, what incentive is there to buy the Ancient subs? I like shoulder buddies, but not that much.
    Klaus Wulfenbach
    Mithril Council, Chaos
    "Death is fleeting. Pride is forever."


    "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."-- Abraham Lincoln

  14. #14

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbie View Post
    I have to agree.
    leave the sup as it is now. 12.95 each month.

    Then maybe, it could be possible to pay a bit more and then have a few more character slots?
    Actually, that's kind of a cool idea. Maybe it isn't possible with the current system (and maybe it isn't possible to reprogram it in a reasonable amount of time), but if it is, I think that would work.

    - 8.95 per month for the basic account, with 5 consignment slots and 3 character slots.
    - 20 cents per month per extra consignment slot purchased, sold in blocks of 5.
    - 1 dollar per month per extra character slot you purchase
    - 5 dollars per month per plot option purchased (meaning, you buy the ability to buy a plot)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    To be brutally honest, I wouldn't pay any more than $14.95 a month for this game unless/until a whole lot of improvements were made. Why would I when the going monthly rate for the "big boys" is only $15 a month.

    For a "basic" subscription, I would leave the character slots and consignor slots as they are currently and just drop the plot ownership ability. This level sub will be great for people who want to keep Horizons as a secondary game in their lineup, but don't care to put all the effort into owning and building up a plot. I just think only 3 character slots and no ability to sell anything on the consignor is too restricted. The basic account should be an account with all the basics, but none of the frills. Consignor selling is a basic, not a frill. Plot ownership is a frill.

    Plot ownership is enough to make most people opt for the slightly more expensive "gifted" subscription anyway, without dropping character slots/consignor slots from the basic sub. I'd further boost "gifted" subs with an additional character slot or two and a couple extra consignor slots, but I'd leave the cost at no more than $14.95. You're going to have a very hard time charging more than Sony or Blizzard for a game a fraction as polished.

    Your $179.99 for 6 months is nearly $30 a month! For that much you have to offer twice the features as a gifted sub, and then some. $30 a month for a game is way out there. For that kind of money I could have a station access sub with Sony (http://station-access.station.sony.com/) and get EQ, EQII, Matrix, Vanguard, Planetside and SWG, plus extra character slots in several of those games, free adventure packs for EQII and other features. You better offer an awful lot if you're going to go for a $30 a month sub, or you're only catering to people who just want to donate extra money to the HZ cause.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Hey now, I like my plot, and would only play 'part time' - then again though my part time is some people's fulltime, so...

    I have no issues with 12.95 for what I have right now. Not worried about concurrent logins, etc. Just add one option to that list called the 'people too resistant to change' plan. I want my plot, but don't need concurrent logins, don't comprehend needing more or less consignment slots..

    .. and yah even I don't pay for the extra games from Sony. But I do pay an additioanl 99c a month for access to the leaderboard databases (grumbles)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by cgacfox View Post
    And what is a shoulder buddy? Like I stated before, I am a bit slow. This was the only online game I have ever played, (although I did try out EVE) and am not sure about a lot of the lingo yet.

    A shoulder buddy is literally a little pet that you can equip and it sits on your shoulder.
    Nayuaka and Nayukhuut. Freelance Helian lorekeepers of Chaos.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Questions:
    1. What about the Military Appreciation Program? Is it in, out, grandfathered?
    2. For consignment slots, are these public consigner shop limits? What are "owner" limits?

    I think the idea of a basic membership without a plot is a good idea. Make sure the sub upgrade feature is easy.

    From my point of view I only need/want 5-6 characters but would like the ability to add additional plots/ lairs. Prior to my "retirement" from the game I had 3 adjacent plots at Fairweather (Chaos) to support my chemical industrial complex and several consignment shops.

    $14.95 is about all I think a "Gifted" sub can go for in the current climate.

    A number of players like the ability to have both a plot and a lair, for a plot-lair combo (or just a 2nd plot) they might pay ~ $20.
    Korth Koragan-

  19. #19

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by LaughingOtter View Post
    If the Ancient subscription includes at least twice the in-game benefit as the Gifted sub, that could be reasonable. If you get more by having multiple monthly subscriptions, what incentive is there to buy the Ancient subs? I like shoulder buddies, but not that much.
    I agree. Being able to own multiple plots would hook me (although ressurecting Unity would do that anyhow , and I am sure I could persuade the majority of our guild, although very small in the grand scheme of things, to return) [cheap shot at bribary ]

    I can, however, see multiple plots being a problem in the long run, unless all the plots you own are reclaimed very quickly after a sub has expired.

    The ability to pay extra for additional plots is also a good idea, that is until server population increases (as I am sure it will) to the point where their is no upgrade path, unless (possibly) new plots are created as community quests are completed.

    It is no good running servers for 'older' members of the community to the detriment of newer ones since an healthy intake is required to be able to drive the program forward, although the 'old timers' are the backbone of Istaria; a fine line to tread!

    I don't envy your position, but repect, and fully support, what you are trying to do. Good luck

    PS Please excuse the flow of my argument as I have had to be subjected to a constant flow of cheap (but very nice) French wine

  20. #20

    Default Re: Billing Feedback

    For the basic sub you have to allow consignment slots. I know I would be quite upset if I started a game as a new player and payed 9.99 but wasn't allowed to sell my items to players in game the standard way. Look at it this way you are trying to get new players to play. Which means hopefully a semi working low level economy so the new players would have to be allowed to put up at least some stuff on consignment. I'd also prefer to see 5 char slots available simply because everyone wants to play a dragon. So over all I'd like to see 5 char slot and 10 consignment slots for a basic account.


    The gifted sub for what it offers looks good at 14.95 a month. I wouldn't go past that for the game. Thats about the average for mmorpgs and approximately the price of going to a movie with a drink and popcorn. Possibly this sub should be allowed a few more consignment slots maybe 15 or 20?


    The ancient subs should be the equivalent of two gifted subs. So an ancient sub would be 2 plots, 10 chars, 20 (or more if you increase the gifted) consign slots, 2 logins, cool little toy. If you end up allowing the ancient sub to have two logins then the cool little toy should be made available to at least two chars on that account.

    So for those of you who dislike reading large amounts my opinion on subs:

    Basic sub: 0 plots, 10 consignment slots, 5 char slots, 1 concurrent login

    Gifted: 1 plot, 15 or 20 consignment slots, 5 char slots, 1 concurrent login and no more then 14.95 a month.

    Ancient: 2 plots, double the gifted consignment slots, 10 char slots, 2 concurrent logins, toy (preferable the amount equal to the logins allowed)

    Also for horizons_cs there are still going to be multiple subs allowed on an account correct?

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